Trial begins for man accused of killing Navy sailor in West Allis

NOW: Trial begins for man accused of killing Navy sailor in West Allis

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) – Jury trial began Monday afternoon for a man charged with killing a young U.S. Navy sailor in West Allis two years ago.

Thirty-six-year-old Derrick Williams was charged in July 2022 with first degree intentional homicide, after the shooting death of 19-year-old Phoenix Castanon on May 8, 2022.

Prosecution called Castanon's fiancée as a witness in court Monday, after the jury was selected.

"You heard the gunshot go off. You could smell the gunpowder. He sped off, took a left down Becher, and I watched Phoenix drop," she said at the stand.

She was there the night her fiancée was shot and killed on 84th Street in West Allis.

According to the criminal complaint, a friend of Castanon's was walking home from a club when a man approached her and tried to get her into his car. Police believe that man was Williams.

The friend called Castanon's fiancée to come pick her up.

When they arrived, Castanon began arguing with Williams. He was then shot and died at the scene.

In opening statements Monday, Williams' defense attorney told jurors evidence naming Williams as the shooter is insufficient, and the state is using coincidences to hold him responsible.

Prosecution called several witnesses and showed evidence from the night Castanon died.

"We're going to walk you through a significant investigation. We're going to walk you through paperwork and going through cars and license plates and photos and DMV and security videos," said attorney Grant Ian Huebner for the state of Wisconsin. "It will not be quick, but it will be thorough."

The trial continues Tuesday morning at 8:15 a.m.

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